Project to Improve Drinking Water Quality for People of Lake Inle, Myanmar
A water softener installed to improve the water quality of Lake Inle in Shan State, Myanmar, started running in April 2017. The softener was purchased with a grant from some of the member companies of the Shunko Konwa-kai, Myanmar to help improve the lives of local residents. This project was supported by some of the Myanmar-based Hitachi Group companies such as the Myanmar branch of Hitachi Asia Ltd., Hitachi Soe Electric & Machinery and Hitachi Elevator (Myanmar) Co., Ltd.
Residents living on Lake Inle and in the surrounding areas always used the water from the lake as drinking water. However, some residents with financial difficulties had to use the lake water and suffered from diarrhea and dysentery despite water pollution caused by sewage, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, while others started purchasing drinking water. Given that situation, some of the Shunko Konwa-kai member companies in Myanmar tested the water quality of the lake collaboratively with the Terra People Association, a Japanese NPO that is working on improving local lives in Southeast Asia including Shan State of Myanmar, and found that a high percentage of calcium in the lake water caused the diseases. The member companies also pledged 32,000 USD to purchase and install a water softener of Hitachi Aqua-Tech Engineering Pte. Ltd. for the residents to be able to use the lake water. Although water supply facilities had been installed at Lake Inle before, this was the first project to work on improvement of water quality in Myanmar.
At the inauguration ceremony held in March, 2017 attended some members from Shan State's council as well as the minister of Security and Border Affairs, members of the Terra People Association and Hitachi employees. The installation of the water softener is expected to provide access to safe water for more than 3,000 households. This means that the women and children who had been going to draw water will be able to spend their time studying or doing other work. Triggered by this project, the residents deepened their understanding of the importance of water and began to plant trees in order to improve the water quality of the lake. They also built a shed to store the water softener and set up a maintenance committee to ensure that they can manage and sustain an operation. "Japan’s drinking water made them feel better" and "I don't waste water anymore" said some of the residents who use cleaned water. Ongoing research is also expected to show further impact of the project.
As of 2015, 2.1 billion people in the world do not access to safe drinking water, and 159 million of them are believed to use unprocessed surface water from lakes, rivers, and irrigation channels.*1 The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the United Nations in 2015 for the purpose of creating a sustainable society, include Goal 6 "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” which this project could contribute to. Hitachi believes that expanding our business enables us to contribute to achieving the SDGs, and we will make a step forward.
*1 Source: Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report "Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal Baselines"
|Offices and Group companies||Hitachi Asia Ltd. (Myanmar Branch), Hitachi Soe Electric & Machinery, and Hitachi Elevator (Myanmar) Co., Ltd. (participating as members of the advisory council of the Shunko Konwa-kai., Myanmar)|
|Cooperation||Terra People Association, NPO|
|Location||Lake Inle, Shan State, Myanmar|